NIAGARA, Wis. — Ione (Radke-Hoehne) Harris, 92, died peacefully in her sleep on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at Maryhill Manor in Niagara where she had been a resident since July 2012. Ione was loved by all who cared for her, and staff will miss her feisty sense of humor.
Ione, Onie to her friends and family, was born on April 24, 1927, in Ripon, Wis. She was a child of The Depression and fondly remembered selling home-grown vegetables door-to-door in a little red wagon. Her father let her keep a penny for every nickel’s worth of vegetables she sold.
That work ethic remained with her throughout her life. She and her family eventually moved from town to the family farm on Rush Lake; a place she loved and that became a fond memory for all of her children. Onie loved nature, animals, classical music, and reading.
She did well in high school and graduated from business college in Oshkosh, Wis., in an era that saw few educated young women. Her first job was as a secretary to the president of Oshkosh Teacher’s College – now the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. She proudly recalled getting hired because she had spelled every word correctly on the transcription/typing test she was given as part of the interview.
She met her first husband who was a student at the college. They were married for five years when he died tragically, leaving her with four young children to raise.
Ione moved her young family back to Ripon and raised them close to her parents and the family farm. She was hired by Ripon College as a secretary in the Dean of Students Office, where she worked for 29 years until her retirement on April 30, 1987.
Upon her retirement, the college newspaper wrote that she was actually the “Person who ran the College,” and that “No one would deny that she had been a significant individual to generations of Ripon College students.”
Onie loved her job and spent her evening hours typing term papers for students and dissertations for professors to earn extra money.
She was a strong believer in the importance of education for all of her children and raised them surrounded by the atmosphere and influence of Ripon College. Growing up, her children all had summer jobs, but their only job during the school year was their homework. All went on to graduate from college and to embody her work ethic in their own lives.
Later in life, Ione was reunited with Doyle Harris, a former high school sweetheart. They were married only 18 months before he passed away. For the remainder of her life, she dedicated herself to her children and grandchildren.
Ione was preceded in death by her first husband, Arthur R. Hoehne; her second husband, Doyle Harris; her parents, Oscar Radke Sr. and Gertrude (Kloehn) Radke; a brother, Oscar Radke Jr.; and a sister, Violet (Radke) Merck.
Ione is survived by her four children and their families. Children include: Suzanne (Patrick) Killian of Niagara, Thomas Hoehne of Kingsford, Ted (Karen) Hoehne of Libertyville, Ill., and Vicki (Loren) Mathias of Palmdale, Calif. Grandchildren include: Timothy (Eliza) Killian of Green Bay, Wis., Robert (Melissa) Killian of Eagan, Minn., Kristina (Mike) Smoley of Wilmette, Ill., and Alyssa Hoehne, also of Wilmette. Great-grandchildren include: Gabriel, Oliver and Desmond Killian of Green Bay and Kevin and Natalie Wood of Eagan.
Onie will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her. She will always be remembered for her sense of humor and fun-loving spirit, her intense loyalty to her family, her generous nature, her work ethic, and her belief in education.
A small, private graveside ceremony will be held in the spring at the Waukau Cemetery near Ripon.
The family has entrusted the Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home with the arrangements.